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Sherlock Ohms

Case of the Data-Corrupting Pocket

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Jack Rupert, PE
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Platinum
Re: Data Transfer
Jack Rupert, PE   8/28/2012 8:39:45 PM
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@Tim, that reminds me of my first PC I got when I started college.  Two 5-1/4" drives with no hard drive.  That was enough to use WordPerfect in one drive (it came on a total of 2) and use the other dirve for data.  I upgraded to a 30MB drive a year or two later.  It also had a monochrome monitor, but a Hercules card to due graphics.

BrainiacV
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Platinum
Disks and magnets
BrainiacV   8/29/2012 9:21:33 AM
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A friend used to work in tech support at an insurance company.  They'd send out disks to various departments and one particular department always complained the disk they received would be unreadable.

After sending several replacement disks they decided to visit the manager and see what the problem was.  My friend went to the manager's cube and asked to see the disk before they tried to use it.

The manager spun around in his chair and (you guessed it) removed the magnet holding the disk to his file cabinet and handed my friend the disk.

3drob
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Platinum
Re: Data Transfer
3drob   8/29/2012 9:35:11 AM
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Ahhhhh, the good old days!  Wow does this bring back memories.

When I was in high school our PC's had 8" floppies!  I remember when they came out with the 1.2MB 5 1/4" disks (a big jump over the 360KB).  So much stuff you could fit onto them.  Then the 720K 3 1/2", then the 1.44MB 3 1/2"!

I remember working hard to get my entire OS on one disk (including the memory manager) so I could boot with only one disk (no swapping).  Then pull out that disk so you could put your program disk in to run something.  If you were lucky, you had two disk drives (or even better, you set up a RAM disk so your most used DOS utilities were available all the time, without hunting for a disk).  You really had to understand the machine to be able to do that.

Now, my digital camera takes still pictures that wont even fit on the largest floppies (>10MB).  Its memory card is 32GB (> 20,000 times larger) and almost indestructable.  Amazing when you look back on it.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: We've come a long way.
Rob Spiegel   8/29/2012 10:38:30 AM
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Yes, back in those early PC days, even a casual user had to learn DOS codes. I remember what a shock it was the first time I saw a PC without a 5 1/4 inch port, then seeing the first PC without a 3 1/2 inch port. 

OLD_CURMUDGEON
User Rank
Platinum
Re: We've come a long way.
OLD_CURMUDGEON   8/29/2012 11:02:23 AM
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LAFF NOT, youngsters!  I STILL have my original I-B-M PC that I bought brand-spanking new in October, 1981, AND it still works!!!  I also have the original I-B-M green monitor & the keyboard.  The keyboard must have been hewn from a solid block of aluminium since it weighs a ton!  The PC (model 5150) has two 5 1/4" floppy drives, but it also has a 10 MEGAbyte PLUS Hardcard in one of the 5 available expansion slots.  And, it's got a multifunction accessory board, which provided the 640K extra memory, Day & Date clock, and an extra set of RS-232 ports.  I keep it now strictly for nostalgia, however in decades past it provided many hours of productive use, and served as the "front end" for small, table-top variant of the SYSTEM 36 mini-computer.  What was really convenient was that with a hot-key sequence, one could instantaneously switch from PC-DOS based applications to the SYSTEM 36 mode, but one could not share data easily, since the SYS 36 applications were in EBCDIC, whereas the PC apps were coded in ASCII.  The "baby-36", as it was called also had its own internal hard drive, which stored the operating system (SSP), and all the programs & data.  One could write applications in ASSEMBLER, BASIC, COBOL & RPG II.  The compilers were all available for this model.  The case was about the same size as  the I-B-M 286 PC, and included a 5 1/4" (1.2MB) Floppy drive, but it formatted differently than the native PC formatting.

Today, I still use a DELL 486/33 (desktop PC for one task, MANAGING YOUR MONEY by ANDREW TOBIAS.  It has ALL the financial wizardry that most people could ever need.  It runs on MS-DOS 5.0, and there is NO connection to the internet, so I do not have to concern myself with phishing, viruses, malware, etc.  And, since I have a large store of 5 1/4" (360K & 1.2MB) diskettes, and an equal large store of 1.4 MB 3 1/2" diskettes, I'm pretty much set for life!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, the SIMPLE LIFE!!!!!!!

p.s.  Of course, I also have my current DELL Tower & my ACER laptop, but they're running WINDOWS XP, SP3, the LAST stable, convenient & intelligent opsys from MICROSOFT.

wbswenberg
User Rank
Gold
Sneaker net
wbswenberg   8/29/2012 11:32:04 AM
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Still using sneaker net at home.  The WIFE pounds in the checks on the MAC Si2 and I blance on Mac G3 laptop.

I remember giving her a ring when we were going together.  A Harrix /5 mag tape write ring.  It did not go over well.  Electrical engineering humor is lost on non EEs.

Jack Rupert, PE
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Data Transfer
Jack Rupert, PE   8/29/2012 2:33:27 PM
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@3drob, I used to have a display of "old media" hanging on my cube wall at a previous employer.  It started with the insides of a failed 5-1/4".  Other made "donations" as they cleaned out their drawers to include a punch card. some punched tape, a magnetic cassette, and an EPROM (one with the window for erasing it with UV). 

OLD_CURMUDGEON
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Data Transfer
OLD_CURMUDGEON   8/29/2012 2:44:14 PM
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When we moved several years ago, I found boxes of Hollerith cards w/ programs & data decks for two machines, one in AUTOCODER for a 1401 & the other in FORTRAN IV for an 1130!  Didn't keep them!  I'm sure those missile systems of the Age of Enlightenment aren't in operation anymore!  Also had a large carton of I-B-M 8" 2S/2D (1.1 MB) diskettes in the blue boxes.  Used on Sys 3X, etc., and some "H" format diskettes for the 5110, 5120, etc.

p.s.  The DELL Tower w/ WINDOWS XP (PRO) that I mentioned previously has a 3 1/2" floppy besides the CD-ROM drive & the DVD Reader/Writer.  Does anyone realize how GREAT it is to type a letter in WORD, AND save it to a floppy drive?  Buttering bread is much more difficult!!!  LONG LIVE floppy diskettes!!!

 

Colorado Native
User Rank
Silver
Re: We've come a long way.
Colorado Native   8/29/2012 4:52:35 PM
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I'm with you OLD_CURMUDGEON, I still have a funcioning 5 1/2" and 3 1/2" dual and single drives, they work quite well and I've had very little trouble with them over the years.  While I can see the logic of using a CD or DVD for large file storage and sometimes a flash drive, I still find it much more convenient to use floppies and I've made sure my kid's computers also have floppy drives.  I also still prefer XP and see no valid reason to 'upgrade' to OS which have not proved to be stable, WIN 7 maybe, Vista was an unqualified failure!

I've been rather annoyed with our school district dropping floppy drives, the kids seem to lose or damage those little flash drives way too often to suit me.

I do use CD and DVD disks for very large data archive storage, which sometimes doesn't work all that well, they don't always want to read out or record right.  I've had difficulty with DVD disks from other computers (not movies, data disks) not reading and it has often been a hassel getting the data on CDs.

Solid state drives are still way too expensive and so far, haven't proven their long term reliability as yet....I wouldn't send them on a NASA mission quite yet.

The latest, greatest isn't always the best thing to use, these days many of these hot new items really need to prove themselves and some of them aren't doing so good.

I also remember the 8" 'floppy' disks and the huge IBM mainframe disk drives (might as well mention those giant tape drives too).  I think we are often too much in a hurry to discard old technology for new and that has caused many problems, NASA comes to mind for one example, they have a great many data tapes with valuable data on them and they don't have any way of reading them, they threw out all of the compatible drives years ago but didn't transfer the data to the new medium...oops!

3drob
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Data Transfer
3drob   8/29/2012 6:12:38 PM
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THat's funny.  I had a similar display in my cube (alas, it didn't survive one of my recent moves).

My first laptop (a sharp PC5000) had removable bubble memory.  Still have it (it mostly works).

I hope no one mentions VHS/Beta tapes ...

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